Putin’s Propaganda on CNN?

 

I checked CNN this morning and was dumbfounded to see that on December 9, they ran Russian Ministry of Defense propaganda video — proudly marked “Russian Ministry of Defense” as news. Please watch that video and tell me how on earth that happened.

Two days ago, CNN reported that they’d been given “rare access” to the “the Moskva, a Russian warship laden with long-range guided missiles.”

Of course they gave CNN “rare access,” particularly since CNN then uncritically reported their propaganda:

Several miles off the Syrian coast, the Moskva, a Russian warship laden with long-range guided missiles, is a formidable symbol of Russian naval might in this stretch of the eastern Mediterranean.

I’ve been given rare access on board this 11,500-ton, 186-meter (610-foot) missile cruiser to witness the key role it plays in Russia’s air war against jihadist rebels in Syria’s grinding civil war.

Equipped with a powerful air defense system, the Moskva has been situated off the Syrian city of Latakia to provide support to the Russian warplanes crisscrossing Syrian skies in an unrelenting schedule of sorties from the Hmeymim air base.

In the two days I’ve been touring the Russian military operations in Syria, their jets have flown more than 100 sorties, destroyed 287 rebel strongholds and 40 oil installations, and killed more than 400 rebels, the Russian Defense Ministry says.

That’s a remarkably odd way to report that Russia has grounded the US military, wouldn’t you say?

Russia’s military operations inside Syria have been expanding in recent weeks, and the latest Russian deployments, made without any advance notice to the U.S., have disrupted the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts to support Syrian rebel forces fighting against the Islamic State near the Turkey-Syria border, just west of the Euphrates River, several Obama administration and U.S. defense officials told us. This crucial part of the battlefield, known inside the military as Box 4, is where a number of groups have been fighting the Islamic State for control, until recently with overhead support from U.S. fighter jets.

But earlier this month, Moscow deployed an SA-17 advanced air defense system near the area and began “painting” U.S. planes, targeting them with radar in what U.S. officials said was a direct and dangerous provocation. The Pentagon halted all manned flights, although U.S. drones are still flying in the area. Russia then began bombing the rebels the U.S. had been supporting. (U.S. manned airstrikes continue elsewhere in Syria.)

We have a free press. If CNN wants to help Putin economize on propaganda, so be it. I find it disgusting, but so be it.

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  1. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    Wow that said part is Assad is still more dangerous than ISIS even though over the long term ISIS is more dangerous.

    • #1
  2. Mark Thatcher
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    CNN is moving to align itself with the views of the incoming Trump administration.

    • #2
  3. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    I have a memory that CNN reported what Saddam Hussein wanted them to, for years (Or did I dream that?). If I am remembering truth: why be surprised that CNN is playing a similar game again?

    • #3
  4. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    TG:I have a memory that CNN reported what Saddam Hussein wanted them to, for years (Or did I dream that?).If I am remembering truth:why be surprised that CNN is playing a similar game again?

    Did they run his propaganda films as news?

    • #4
  5. Susan the Buju Contributor
    Susan the Buju
    @SusanQuinn

    I think this report is illustrative of a lack of principles or appreciation of American values. Anything goes. For CNN not to realize that they were duped into celebrating Russia’s activities shows either a lack of journalistic discretion or foolishness. (I’m trying to keep the CoC)

    • #5
  6. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Susan the Buju:I think this report is illustrative of a lack of principles or appreciation of American values. Anything goes. For CNN not to realize that they were duped into celebrating Russia’s activities shows either a lack of journalistic discretion or foolishness. (I’m trying to keep the CoC)

    I keep thinking that I can’t be further shocked.

    • #6
  7. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    CNN does not envision itself as an American network. It wants to be the world’s network for television news. Seeing as most of the world is opposed to us, they will gladly give the world what it wants.

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    There is a story about a group of Americans that were given a tour of a publishing plant in the Soviet Union. I believe it was in the 1920’s. They were sympathizers to Communism. They were shown a large printing press and one woman exclaimed; “We don’t have anything like this in the United States.” As they got closer to the press they saw a plaque on the side of the press. Engraved upon the plaque was the legend: Made in Brooklyn, USA.

    CNN should know better than to get sucked into Russian propaganda and promotion.

    • #8
  9. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Doug Watt: CNN should know better than to get sucked into Russian propaganda and promotion.

    America doesn’t know better anymore.

    • #9
  10. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    EJHill:CNN does not envision itself as an American network. It wants to be the world’s network for television news. Seeing as most of the world is opposed to us, they will gladly give the world what it wants.

    Most of the world isn’t against us. But it sure will be if we’re dumb enough to do this.

    • #10
  11. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Doug Watt: CNN should know better than to get sucked into Russian propaganda and promotion.

    America doesn’t know better anymore.

    I think America knows better. I’m not sure CNN does.

    • #11
  12. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Most of the world isn’t against us.

    But not in areas where CNN seeks growth. They’re not exactly banging down the door for coverage in the Phillipines.

    • #12
  13. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    Susan the Buju: For CNN not to realize that they were duped into celebrating Russia’s activities

    They realize it.  These are experts in their trade; they know exactly what they’re doing.  It’s just that journalism isn’t their trade.  In fairness to them, though, journalism is a rapidly disappearing trade.

    Eric Hines

    • #13
  14. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    TG:I have a memory that CNN reported what Saddam Hussein wanted them to, for years (Or did I dream that?).If I am remembering truth:why be surprised that CNN is playing a similar game again?

    Did they run his propaganda films as news?

    No, not that anybody noticed. They did spike stories that might have reflected badly on Saddam. Active participation in propaganda efforts (other than for the DNC) is new.

    • #14
  15. Eric Hines Inactive
    Eric Hines
    @EricHines

    This isn’t the Cable News Network of Bernie Shaw or Lynne Russell.  Or even of Ted Turner.

    This is just a network that gives cable TV a bad name.  It’s also losing out even in cable TV; it’s biggest presence in the US is in our airports.

    Eric Hines

    • #15
  16. TheRoyalFamily Member
    TheRoyalFamily
    @TheRoyalFamily

    The days of Soviet propaganda are long past. Only entities with power, like the United States, and conservatives, can create propaganda. Just like only those with power can be racists (ie, whites, even in Africa).

    • #16
  17. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    So in response to Russian provocation – the radar painting of our military aircraft, which is a direct confrontation – we do exactly nothing, other than stop flying military aircraft where they can be painted.

    This is certainly the Leading From Behind strategy to proudly touted by Barry, et al, at his corona….er, inauguration.  Nothing quite says cowardice like capitulation.

    • #17
  18. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    Hi, just got back from Shabbos.

    First, let’s take a look at the Moskva. You know the Russian “Carrier Killer”.

    The last time I checked ISIS had no carriers or any navy whatsoever. We have carriers and the French have the Charles de Gaule. So as help in the war against Jihadist rebels it doesn’t quite add up. It couldn’t be more obvious who the presence of the Moskva in the Mediterranean is directed against.

    Now for your question about CNN. There are various possible answers about why CNN would do this. Your guess is as good as mine as to which one is the most likely.

    1. CNN is a shallow parasitic organization that will get a headline with whatever story is convenient.
    2. CNN thinks that rose coloring the Russian presence will continue to allow the fantasy that the Obama-Clinton foreign policy makes any sense at all.
    3. Wuff Blitzkreig is an idiot.
    4. Wuff Blitzkreig died right after the 1st Gulf War and has been replaced by a left wing programmed android (almost life like – well so was Wuff)
    5. CNN has been taken over by Satan Worshipers. OK, OK, only when they are not baiting Republicans. They need a hobby you know.
    6. Dana Bash is sleeping with Putin. (my brain hurts..oh my brain hurts..arghhh)
    7. Simple Stupidity.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    James Gawron: First, let’s take a look at the Moskva. You know the *Russian “Carrier Killer”.

    The last time I checked ISIS had no carriers or any navy whatsoever. We have carriers and the French have the Charles de Gaule. So as help in the war against Jihadist rebels it doesn’t quite add up. It couldn’t be more obvious who the presence of the Moskva in the Mediterranean is directed against.

    A guided missile cruiser can carry more than one kind of missile.  Anti-ship missiles for carriers, ship-to-shore (or far beyond the shore) for land targets.

    The CNN stuff is spot on.

    • #19
  20. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Percival:

    James Gawron: First, let’s take a look at the Moskva. You know the *Russian “Carrier Killer”.

    The last time I checked ISIS had no carriers or any navy whatsoever. We have carriers and the French have the Charles de Gaule. So as help in the war against Jihadist rebels it doesn’t quite add up. It couldn’t be more obvious who the presence of the Moskva in the Mediterranean is directed against.

    A guided missile cruiser can carry more than one kind of missile. Anti-ship missiles for carriers, ship-to-shore (or far beyond the shore) for land targets.

    The CNN stuff is spot on.

    Percival,

    To waste these missiles on the small targets that ISIS would present would be an exercise in absurdity. It is what it is. The Moskva is in the eastern Mediterranean as a sea superiority weapon against the U.S. Sixth Fleet and the French.

    CNN is hopeless.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #20
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    James Gawron:

    Percival:

    James Gawron: First, let’s take a look at the Moskva. You know the *Russian “Carrier Killer”.

    The last time I checked ISIS had no carriers or any navy whatsoever. We have carriers and the French have the Charles de Gaule. So as help in the war against Jihadist rebels it doesn’t quite add up. It couldn’t be more obvious who the presence of the Moskva in the Mediterranean is directed against.

    A guided missile cruiser can carry more than one kind of missile. Anti-ship missiles for carriers, ship-to-shore (or far beyond the shore) for land targets.

    The CNN stuff is spot on.

    Percival,

    To waste these missiles on the small targets that ISIS would present would be an exercise in absurdity. It is what it is. The Moskva is in the eastern Mediterranean as a sea superiority weapon against the U.S. Sixth Fleet and the French.

    CNN is hopeless.

    Regards,

    Jim

    The Russians have been hitting targets that the U.S. has been avoiding.  Oil truck parks, storage tanks, refining and pumping facilities. These targets have been avoided by the U.S. because of the risk of civilian collateral damage. The Russians are less … fastidious.

    There, see?  I can so be diplomatic if I put my mind to it.

    • #21
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    This sort of thing has been going on for a long time with American news coverage in Cuba. I forget which of the major news networks most compromised itself, maybe a decade ago, by getting permission to establish a news bureau in Cuba, and which obviously colored its coverage so as not to lose this special access.  I don’t remember where I read about it, but it might have been Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s column in the WSJ. In any case, I’m sure she would have been on top of it.

    • #22
  23. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    TG:I have a memory that CNN reported what Saddam Hussein wanted them to, for years (Or did I dream that?).If I am remembering truth:why be surprised that CNN is playing a similar game again?

    Did they run his propaganda films as news?

    If you were Saddam, would you want them to? Eason Jordan provided the most valuable possible service to Saddam, who lacked the resources to produce Saddamite propaganda of the quality that CNN could produce. It’s not that they weren’t good at persuading people, it’s that they specialized heavily in a form of persuasion that required it to be clear that you’d be murdered if you dissented, which wasn’t an option available to them in moving European and American audiences.

    If you were Putin, on the other hand, you’d have a vast media empire that almost certainly could, and would, do the job better than CNN would. I don’t think that this is CNN changing, just different approaches for different clients. If Saddam had given them some interesting and well shot footage, they’d probably have run that, too.

    • #23
  24. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Percival:

    James Gawron:

    Percival:

    James Gawron: First, let’s take a look at the Moskva. You know the *Russian “Carrier Killer”.

    The last time I checked ISIS had no carriers or any navy whatsoever. We have carriers and the French have the Charles de Gaule. So as help in the war against Jihadist rebels it doesn’t quite add up. It couldn’t be more obvious who the presence of the Moskva in the Mediterranean is directed against.

    A guided missile cruiser can carry more than one kind of missile. Anti-ship missiles for carriers, ship-to-shore (or far beyond the shore) for land targets.

    The CNN stuff is spot on.

    Percival,

    To waste these missiles on the small targets that ISIS would present would be an exercise in absurdity. It is what it is. The Moskva is in the eastern Mediterranean as a sea superiority weapon against the U.S. Sixth Fleet and the French.

    CNN is hopeless.

    Regards,

    Jim

    The Russians have been hitting targets that the U.S. has been avoiding. Oil truck parks, storage tanks, refining and pumping facilities. These targets have been avoided by the U.S. because of the risk of civilian collateral damage. The Russians are less … fastidious.

    There, see? I can so be diplomatic if I put my mind to it.

    Russian Airstrikes on Syria

    This is a representative picture of Russian air strikes. When it comes to hitting ISIS, they’re pretty darn fastidious. It’s true that they’re hitting targets America will not, but these are mostly ISIS’ enemies, because Russia is there to support Assad, and ISIS is something of a frenemy to Assad.

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    James Of England: This is a representative picture of Russian air strikes. When it comes to hitting ISIS, they’re pretty darn fastidious. It’s true that they’re hitting targets America will not, but these are mostly ISIS’ enemies, because Russia is there to support Assad, and ISIS is something of a frenemy to Assad.

    Yeah, JoE, they target the FSA, but after ISIS blew up one of their airliners, they have been hitting ISIS as well. They are definitely not doing anything for our benefit.

    • #25
  26. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Percival:

    James Of England: This is a representative picture of Russian air strikes. When it comes to hitting ISIS, they’re pretty darn fastidious. It’s true that they’re hitting targets America will not, but these are mostly ISIS’ enemies, because Russia is there to support Assad, and ISIS is something of a frenemy to Assad.

    Yeah, JoE, they target the FSA, but after ISIS blew up one of their airliners, they have been hitting ISIS as well. They are definitely not doing anything for our benefit.

    They’ve always had some nominal strikes at ISIS, but ISIS has done much better in Syria with Russian intervention than they did without it. It’s still clearly the case that Putin’s involvement is a strong net benefit to them. This fits in line with Assad buying ISIS’ oil (thus likely making Putin’s ships and such run on it when they fuel up in Assad’s port) and Assad’s decade long history of periodic support for ISIS. It’s important for both parties to be seen as opposed to the other, but that doesn’t make it true.

    I completely agree that ISIS, Russia, and Assad do not see American benefit as a positive outcome in this.

    • #26
  27. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    James Of England: If you were Putin, on the other hand, you’d have a vast media empire that almost certainly could, and would, do the job better than CNN would.

    A vast media empire that’s nothing like the clunky, obvious KGB propaganda of old, but run by a KGB autocrat. Soviet propaganda used to be transparent and nasty. Now they give the French a darling puppy in condolence for their loss of a police dog in the raid on St. Denis — headline news (cute puppy! — viral!).

    The number of people who follow the news in the US and Europe closely enough to know that no, Russia is not heroically “fighting jihadis” is, I’d guess, fewer than five percent. So this kind of propaganda is extremely powerful. The number of Americans who know which parties Putin funds in Europe is tiny. The other day Sarah Palin (who can indeed see Russia from her backyard) wrote a glowing encomium about her “crush” on Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (meaning she may be able to see them from Alaska, but she can’t see them in Western Europe). And I need not mention other prominent figures who can’t figure out when they’ve been manipulated by Putin.

    So this stuff scares me. And when journalists run propaganda from a regime that kills and imprisons journalists (and stifles all other domestic dissent), it seems to me a double betrayal — of the country and the profession, such as it is. Usually, journalists stand with their own, and are the first to report attacks and assaults on journalists — we understand that means we’re next. “Treason” has a specific meaning, and I won’t use it to describe this. We have a First Amendment to protect all speech, even speech that harms our national interest; even foreign propaganda. But “deep moral betrayal” isn’t too strong, and if you put me in a room with the journalists and editors who decided to run that — well, the answer to speech we don’t like is more speech, and mine wouldn’t comply with our CoC.

    An advertiser boycott of CNN would be perfectly legal. I’m surprised this wasn’t enough of a scandal to prompt one.

    Or maybe I’m not surprised. Not anymore.

    • #27
  28. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: A vast media empire that’s nothing like the clunky, obvious KGB propaganda of old, but run by a KGB autocrat. Soviet propaganda used to be transparent and nasty. Now they give the French a darling puppy in condolence for their loss of a police dog in the raid on St. Denis — headline news (cute puppy! — viral!).

    The KGB had its moments of brilliance, too, but I agree that the FSB are much better.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The other day Sarah Palin (who can indeed see Russia from her backyard) wrote a glowing encomium about her “crush” on Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (meaning she may be able to see them from Alaska, but she can’t see them in Western Europe). And I need not mention other prominent figures who can’t figure out when they’ve been manipulated by Putin.

    I don’t think that Palin’s endorsement of Le Pen would be likely to do a lot of harm, but it combines with Sarkozy’s increasing warmth towards him, Farage’s long term affection, and such. One of the key ways in which the FSB has a leg up against the KGB is that it’s much, much better at producing conservative flavored nationalist propaganda. Breitbart, and even Russia Today, would not have been possible if everything had to be about the superficial importance of the proletariat.

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: A vast media empire that’s nothing like the clunky, obvious KGB propaganda of old, but run by a KGB autocrat. Soviet propaganda used to be transparent and nasty. Now they give the French a darling puppy in condolence for their loss of a police dog in the raid on St. Denis — headline news (cute puppy! — viral!).

    Are you talking about KGB propaganda for internal consumption in the Soviet Union?  Because some of it that was done in self-glorification, say at the peak of the Brezhnev era, was very well-done – subtle and nuanced.  The TV series Seventeen Moments of Spring is one of the best spy-thrillers, ever. There are other KGB-sponsored films that are more pedestrian but still interesting. Of course, the film-maker hired to do Seventeen Moments series worked in a bit of anti-Soviet message, too, while he was at it.  That was also craftily done.

    FBI self-glorification in the years following WWII could be quite crude by comparison.  (I’m not sure there is any FBI equivalent for the 70s.)

    But I suspect the old KGB would have adapted to social media quite well and quickly.

    • #29
  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    James Of England: One of the key ways in which the FSB has a leg up against the KGB is that it’s much, much better at producing conservative flavored nationalist propaganda.

    Yes.

    • #30

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